Why does this memory return today? This question is endlessly fruitful for those of us who seek the meaning buried in experience. I ask it whenever a memory won’t let me go. My father died in July, and this simple meal on a park bench conjures completely all he meant to me: Our mutual effort to begin again.
Community does not necessarily mean living face-to-face with others; rather, it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other. It is not about the presence of other people—it is about being fully open to the reality of relationship, whether or not we are alone.” –Parker Palmer
All these relatives contributed to my life. Their stories exert an influence on my story. When I become conscious of them, when I welcome their being into mine, I become them, too, at least in part. An important dimension of myself is returned to me.
My ancestors are with me, in me. Their stories are my story, and somehow this is comforting. I’m not alone. I’m living out our story—and it’s so big, surely it’s holy.
The main drama of memoir is not what happened in the past but what happens when we consider the past and allow ourselves to be changed by the consideration.
I want to be opened up and marked today. Changed. Colored. I want to be these maple branches against a blue sky for Gwyn when I greet her at school. I want to be so rich in pigment that it seeps into these words and paints your mind. Today I worship a God named Beauty, or, if you prefer, I love how beauty is a source of life. And I love how beauty, like God, can sustain us even when it’s gone.